Home Entertainment & Technology Resource

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Arcam rDAC Review

Discussion in 'Arcam Forum' started by xxFLUIDxx, May 1, 2010.

  1. jont

    jont Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2002
    Messages:
    3,304
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +268
    How about an rdac into my av8 - could feed the Sonos zp90 and around 600 apple lossless rips into it ?

    Am I likely to hear a difference in the dacs ?

    Jon
  2. gscholefield

    gscholefield Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2008
    Messages:
    221
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +14
    The rdac uses the wolfson 8741 dac the same as the av888 where as the avr600 uses a crystal dac, it would be best to have a home demo if possible to find out if it would improve the sound of your system. Good luck and enjoy.:thumbsup:

    Gary
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. schford

    schford Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Messages:
    269
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +32
    No its not the Rdac is from the 888 - its a decent step up from my 600 in my opinion.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. WAYNEDOLLEY

    WAYNEDOLLEY Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    1,460
    Trophy Points:
    41
    Ratings:
    +14
    That is strange the Arcam rep at the Bristol show on Saturday advised me that the RDAC used the same DAC as they use in there 888 processor and AVR600.
  5. ianmacd

    ianmacd Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Messages:
    936
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +78
    Check out the tech specs on arcam.co.uk and it will show they are different.

    AV888: Wolfson 8741 high end 24bit 192kHz audio DACs
    AVR600: Crystal Semiconductor 24bit 192kHz DACs

    rDAC uses "the outstanding 8741 IC from Wolfson Microelectronics" according to the in detail page on the rDAC.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. Mr X

    Mr X Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    3,288
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +406
    Thanks for the replies. Will see if I can get a home demo to see if any gains noticable over the AVR600
  7. Ray123

    Ray123 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    An update from an earlier post.
    A dealer who I had previously visited contacted me to come and listen to a comparison between RDAC and Sonos. I managed to pick the RDAC as being better but how much better is quite subjective. Another dealer employee came in and listened to both and picked the Sonos only to be corrected as why the other (RDAC) sounded better so not as clear as some would suggest. Someone at Arcam said that the difference between alpha 9 and RDAC may not be noticeable. Tend to agree as the alpha 9 is a great player.
    So to a Linn dealer who suggested that a Linn Majik would be a major improvement. So arranged a demo took my alpha 9 cd player and alpha 10 to compare against a Linn Majik DS I. my cds were ripped and then I listened. Yes the Majik DS I sounded much better and just generally more enjoyable to listen to with better seperation detal and dynamics.
    One other experiment was to move my arcam system from a room with wooden floors (with a rug) to a carpeted bedroom. The improvement here in listening enjoyment here was quite dramatic and so my conclusion.

    Linn Majik DSI (£2600) and serious improvements to my listeniining room.(advice welome) Alpha 9 CD listed in the classified with alpha 10 phono amp to follow.
  8. ranakirti

    ranakirti Member

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Messages:
    300
    Trophy Points:
    21
    Ratings:
    +3
    guys i'm considering a rDac but a had a question. If i buy a regular version then can i in the future add an antenna and upgrade it to a wireless version ?

    Thanks.
  9. nrighton

    nrighton Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Messages:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +53
    When I ordered the rDAc the wireless option was not yet available and would be a dealer installed upgrade if one wanted to upgrade in the future. I do not know if that is still the case.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  10. netley

    netley Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Messages:
    112
    Trophy Points:
    19
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hello chaps, hope its OK to post this here

    My iMac (2011 3.1Ghz running 10.7.2) is connected by USB to my rDAC and thence to Solo.

    I have an regular error where there will be interference when playing music that will not go away until I have changed the sound output on the mac to internal and then back to the rDAC OR by changing the active input on the rDAC itself away from the USB and then back.

    So yes it is solved but it is annoying

    Anyone know what might be causing this?:lease:
  11. sharger

    sharger Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,700
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +157
    Hi... I want to stream music from my macbook pro wireless to my AV8/P7 setup, using itunes, spotify etc. Is the wireless rdac the best solution to achieving this?

    Many thanks in advance...
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  12. sounddog

    sounddog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2002
    Messages:
    2,253
    Trophy Points:
    51
    Ratings:
    +81
    I'd look at Logitech Squeezebox Touch.

    Eloise
  13. sharger

    sharger Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Messages:
    1,700
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +157
    Hey thanks.... So would that be hard wired into my router with my macbook pro comunicating wirelessly? (The majority of my music is stored on a NAS).

    What would be the best output into the AV8 digital coax or optical?

    Lastly (sorry for all the questions) would the sound quality be the same as if it were output by the rdac?
  14. RickDastardly

    RickDastardly Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,075
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +186
    Hi Everyone.

    I have some money saved away, and today being a rainy day, I thought I would check with the good people on the forum to see how best to spend my savings to improve my set-up. The real problem I have is that I feel that my speakers and amp are fairly well balanced at the moment. I don't think I would see the benefit of upgrading either speakers or amp, without upgrading the other at the same time. The use of my system is about 60:40 Movies to Music. Here is what I have at the moment:

    • Denon AVR 3310
    • Mordaunt Short Aviano 5.1 system (Aviano 6 FL & FR)
    • Chord Carnival Silver Screen speaker cables
    • AV Sources: Sony and Phillips Blu-ray players
    • Music Source: CDs ripped (lossless) to Mac Mini connected to Denon AVR (in Pure Direct mode) via hdmi

    I have been looking at external DACs (particularly the rDAC) as a way to improve the musicality of my system. Will I notice much improvement by introducing the rDAC (or other external DAC) between the mac mini and the Denon? I've investigated the possibility of demoing the rDAC with a local supplier. I can take along the mac mini, but I will probably not be able to test it with the same amp and speakers that I have. I'm hoping that it should give me a reasonable idea of the difference an rDAC could make to an AV set-up similar to my own.

    Any advice for the best way(s) to improve my on my current set-up? Or will I only see a big improvement by upgrading my amp and speakers? Alternatively, should I be looking at trying to integrate a dedicated 2-channel amp? I'm a bit lost, but I'm happy to consider all options.
  15. nrighton

    nrighton Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Messages:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +53
    rDac is the way to go !! I bought one last year to use with my Macbook Pro via USB after ripping all my CDs to the hard drive in AIFF format. I connect the rDac to an Arcam AVR300 in direct analog mode. The rDac out performs the DAC in the AVR300 which is regarded as more musical than the Denon. Obviously since 60% of your sources are movies the Denon is a great way to go but you can improve the remaining 40% of musical listening by a large margin with the rDac. You will find better imaging, improved warmth and focused midrange tone. The asynchronous USB audio is stellar and really what makes the rDac shine. I would suggest buying an rDac from a dealer that offers a reputable return / satisfaction guaranteed policy. The best way for you to audition the rDac is in your own home. The rDac is small enough and easy enough to setup, audition, and return if you are not satisfied.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  16. RickDastardly

    RickDastardly Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,075
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +186
    Thanks. I'll see if I can take a demo unit home for a few days or so.
  17. scanspeak

    scanspeak Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Ratings:
    +0
    Do you have any other devices plugged into your iMAC USB ports?
    Have you checked your USB cable?
  18. scanspeak

    scanspeak Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Ratings:
    +0
    I have an AVR600 which I quite enjoy and have just ordered an rDAC for the asynchronous USB connection to my Mac Mini (until now I've been using the optical SPDIF connection).

    I've also purchased this USB isolator for galvanic isolation from the MAC.
    http://electronicsshop.dk/usb_isolation.htm?currency=USD

    I'm now considering power supply options.

    Can anybody confirm if the 6V Maplin power supply is regulated or unregulated? I suspect it is unregulated (meaning the voltage can float anywhere from 6V to 10V depending on load).

    I would expect a regulated power supply to significantly outperform an unregulated one.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  19. StooMonster

    StooMonster Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    Messages:
    4,936
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Ratings:
    +299
    I also get this using an Apple Airport Express connected to rDAC via optical cable, to wirelessly stream music from Apple Lossless rips on my Mac Pro. Crackling like interference, bloody annoying.

    Also, rDAC sometimes only plays left or right channel only when I start streaming to it and I have to change the active input on the rDAC, power cycle it, or stop and restart the signal to it to fix the problem.

    Edit: for clarification, before anyone blames my connection or the streaming or the Mac or the Airport, if I connect the device directly the amp this never happens; only happens when rDAC is inline.

    StooMonster
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012
  20. RickDastardly

    RickDastardly Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,075
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +186
    I'm getting my hands on an rDAC for a weekend long home trial today. Looking forward to it!

    I'm a bit worried that people in the last few posts on this page seem to have some issues with MACs and the rDAC. I now wondering whether I should try and restrict use of the USB to the rDAC only. I currently have an old external HD and a SuperDrive hooked up. Should I look at using FireWire for the HD and only connect the SuperDrive when needed?

    What could be causing the issues mentioned above?

    Thanks.
  21. scanspeak

    scanspeak Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks StooMonster.
    I received my rDAC a few days ago and I'm loving it.
    My setup consists of a Mac Mini using Itunes (Apple lossless, 88.2kHz/24bit) feeding USB to the rDAC, then direct analog input into my AVR600.
    The sound is definitely a step up in detail & naturalness and I still haven't tried a linear power supply or USB isolator (which are on order).
    Haven't had any issues whatsoever.
  22. xxFLUIDxx

    xxFLUIDxx Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Messages:
    667
    Trophy Points:
    31
    Ratings:
    +53
    I have an rDac which I have had since launch working with my MacBook Pro and mine has worked flawlessly from day one

    I have to say its a great bit of kit with the best USB sound of any Dac I have heard
  23. RickDastardly

    RickDastardly Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,075
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +186
    Can anyone tell me if I can connect my Mac Mini to my Denon AVR 3310 via HDMI and use the rDAC to out-put audio to the Denon via the analogue connections? I have to admit I've struggled for a way to do this and ended up plugging the Mac Mini's HDMI directly into the TV and the analogues from the rDAC into the "CD" input on the Denon. Am I being a twerp? Is it possible to send video over HDMI to the amp and audio via analogue? My brain is not working tonight...I'm knackered!

    P.S. the rDAC sounds awesome!
  24. nrighton

    nrighton Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Messages:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +53
    You should be able to assign the analog audio input to the desired HDMI input on the receiver. Page 49 of the manual describes changing the audio input mode of the HDMI input to analog.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  25. RickDastardly

    RickDastardly Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,075
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +186
    I tried, but just couldn't get it to work. I must have been doing something silly. Anyway, the rDAC sounds beautiful. I'm currently listening to Johnathon Wilson...with a big smile on my face :)
  26. nrighton

    nrighton Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Messages:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +53
    I believe you should plug the analog output of the rDac into the analog input labeled the same as the HDMI input you are using. If you have the Apple TV plugged into HDP HDMI input plug the analog audio into the HDP analog input. Hope this helps and glad you are enjoying the rDac, I love mine.

    On another note...If you are listening to standard cd or mp3 based material make sure the settings in the OS X AUDIO MIDI setup are set to 44khz. If you are listening to to 24bit 96khz make sure you switch the computer audio settings to match. Make sure to switch back to 44khz if you are not listening to 24bit/96khz The computer does not do a great job of up sampling and if the setting is left outputting a higher resolution signal than the original recording. Also ensure the system alerts are NOT being sent through the rDac as this can cause distortion in the signal.

    Attached Files:

    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  27. Smartdriver

    Smartdriver Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hi there,

    Read alot about this new gem from Arcam, Rdac because my old (12 years) and trusty Alpha 9 is slowly collapsing and degrading.

    This is what i found and read.

    Power supply is very poor quality so i found 2 possiblities;

    Squeeze-upgrade - Lineaire voeding voor de Arcam rDAC 6V by:

    Squeeze-upgrade - Switch-mode upgrade voor de Arcam rDAC by:

    USB port is the best way to hook up the Rdac to the system but ground loops are possible.
    Thanks to SCANSPEAK:smashin: his solution is the cheaper one, this was mine;

    WuT USB-Isolator 1kV

    The digital domain consists of a small windows Vista laptop with Albumplayer.
    The laptop is upgraded with Asio software to get the digital signal pure and clean without intervention from mediaplayer out of the laptop.
    Source is a NAS with 2 TB capacity.
    CD's are ripped with EAC into WAV-files.

    My analog system contains of a Rotel pre RC-995 combined with 2 Rotel RB-991 in BI-amp setup, they drive Chario Milleniums 2.
    The Rotels are hooked up with each other with vandenHull "thesecond", Milleniums with QED silver, source (Rdac) to pre with vandenHull "theultimate"

    With everything read in mind i almost know for sure my system will give me the sound i was used to, after 100 hours that is :(, but then it will be clear, spacious with much detail.

    Regards,

    Paul
  28. rodd1000

    rodd1000 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2007
    Messages:
    1,056
    Trophy Points:
    66
    Ratings:
    +118
    Bought a new rDac yesterday after a impressive demo in store. However since buying one and setting it up i've found the sound to be awful and no better than the audio direct from my Sony BDP. The bass is extremely muddy/boomy and overpowers the entire sound. Treble is thin and harsh. Ive tried it with coax and optical cables but it makes no difference. I don't understand how it could sound so good in store and so bad at home. Amplifier is a Marantz PM6004 and B&WCM1 speakers. Anyone else experienced this?
  29. Smartdriver

    Smartdriver Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Ratings:
    +0
    No worries rodd1000,

    You need at least 100 hours of playing before it'll sound as you heard, probably....
    Then loose the wallmart supply and change this for a better one, read my post above yours.
    And everythings stands or fails with the quality of the used equipment like the interconnects.
    The best thing to hook it up with is the USB port.
    Check out Google for testresults, everybody is amazed with the quality of sound, much value for money.
    Be patiënt :D
  30. nrighton

    nrighton Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Messages:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +53
    Ditto Smartdriver's input. I felt the same way. I sold my DV29 and ripped all my cds to my computer to play back through the rDac. It was boomy and a bit harsh initially. After several hours the sound improved. I ran my TV, Xbox , Bluray, and computer through it and was over the 100 hour mark in no time, with improved sound. 2 channel sounds amazing, movies and "theatrical" stuff has a more immersive effect in surround mode on the AVR300 than in 2 channel on the rDac but the musicality of material on the rDac rules!

Share This Page